U13 National Cup Winners Report
by Joanne Watson
Congratulations to the Under 13 squad who were crowned ECB National Champions at Oundle
The full squad:
Front Row: Henry McMillan, Duncan Timberlake, Harry Relph, Harvey Brooks, Chan Thilakwardana, Henry Turrell, Harvey Skidmore.
Middle Row: George Stuttard, Rob Butler, Matty Stephenson ( CAPT), Will Perceval, Ollie Willoughby, Freddie Geffen and James Relph ( Assistant Manager)
Back Row: Dean Skidmore, ( Manager), Matt Teale and Duncan Selmes (Coaches)
Competition Format August 12th – 14th
The 6 regional winners competing were Parley ( Dorset), Oakham (Leics), Grange ( Edinburgh), Eastcote ( Middlesex), and Barnt Green ( West Midlands).
All the teams stayed in Oundle School dorms, with Guildford coaches Matt and Duncan taking charge of our team.
It was a straightforward 20 overs a side competition, maximum 4 overs per bowler and batsmen reaching 30 had to retire.
Guildford 104 all out ( 20 overs) Parley 93-9 ( 20 overs)
G win by 11 runs
Guildford got off to a solid start but it was soon evident that the standard of fielding was a notch up from their normal opposition when Will was out to a stunning low catch. 5 of our top 7 batters reached double figures with Ollie top scoring with 18 but was 104 enough on fast outfield?
Throughout the competition G used just 5 bowlers and Will soon made his mark removing an opener for a duck, one of 5 of their batters falling caught and bowled. Early success continued with Freddie taking a brilliant one handed diving catch off his own bowling.
Parley then found some stability and steadily accumulated runs but were never ahead of the rate. Rob taking 2 more C & Bs with Freddie finishing with 3-29 as Parley fell 11 runs short.
Typical of all the matches was Guildford’s skill, intensity and commitment in the field, with the likes of George, Chan, Henry T, Duncan and both Harveys proving their worth as they willingly dived to save boundaries and returned quickly and accurately ensuring none of the opposition side got easy runs.
Guildford 129-8 ( 20 overs) Eastcote 107 ao (18.1)
G won by 22 runs
With just over 90 minutes between matches G then took on the Middlesex Champions. On paper this looked like one of the more difficult matches as Eastcote contained several County players. This time Matty won the toss and decided to bat on the the smallest of the 3 pitches.
Having lost our openers early, Freddie (17) and Harry (17) bookended an excellent 31 from Matty and after he retired Robbie finished the innings with a flourish hitting 2 straight sixes as he plundered 19 runs in the penultimate over.
129 was in fact the highest score by any side in the finals but aware of Eastcote’s big hitters there was no margin for error. They set off at a cracking pace, cheered on by one of their supporters who loudly and repeatedly encouraged them to “get then in 10 overs!”.
Matty struck first courtesy of another diving catch by Freddie who then stepped up to rip out their middle order with his off breaks ( 4-16). Will exemplified the fielding with an excellent return to enable a run out and 3 balls later it was 41-4 . Freddie, (the leading wicket taker in the finals) struck again thanks to a brilliant boundary catch from Will. Having the presence of mind to check he was inside the line and shielding his eyes from the sun he plucked out a shoulder high catch. Rumour has it he put his finger to his lips in a shusshing gesture! it certainly silenced the Eastcote support and with the next ball accounting for another batter they fell to 70-6 in the 12th. However there was no room for complacency and Rob who specialises in “death” bowling ensured there was no way back taking 3-25 to wrap up the innings.
Special mention to Chan, who having suffered a badly grazed arm, in diving to stop a boundary on a rough stretch of outfield had to be patched up but came back to take an excellent overhead catch.
Guildford 111-9 ( 20 overs) Oakham 48 ao ( 12.3)
G won by 63 runs
Spurred on by their opening 2 victories Guildford then took on Oakham who were playing in the competition for the first time and were yet to record a win.
G batted first and Freddie with 26 and Harry 32 no, saw them to 111-9.
Matty, who had been rested after the Horsham regional finals to ensure his broken thumb had healed properly then showed why he is a class bowler with a spell of almost unplayable swing bowling taking 2-5 in his 4 overs with 2 maidens. Henry M, whose left arm spin has proved such a potent force this season then bewitched the opposition taking 4-6, clean bowling 3 with Harry contributing a smart stumping. Rob added 2 more wickets including a well judged catch from Duncan which removed their best batter and it was job done.
Grange 80-8 ( 20 overs) Guildford 84-8 ( 18.1)
Guildford won by 2 wickets
It was perhaps unexpected that a team from Scotland would win the Northern region when faced with the strength of the Yorkshire and Lancashire clubs but it was evident from the outset that they were a force to be reckoned with, a virtual Scotland team who too had arrived at this stage unbeaten. Added to the mix was the weather which had been cold, grey and damp all day with the increasing threat of rain. Fittingly this match was played on the main pitch.
Grange won the toss and must soon have regretted batting first as Matty continued where he had left off in the morning removing both openers as the Scots fell to 1-2. Wickets fell steadily and it soon became 28-5 when Harvey B’s powerful return earned a tight run out decision in our favour. However the Scots were made of stern stuff and a 6th wicket partnership of 34 eeked out the runs before Will’s two late wickets stifled any late run charges.
However as any team knows these relatively low scores can be difficult to chase and the Scots who boasted 2 of the largest boys in the competition showed why they had reached this stage as they too scythed through the upper order. 3-1, 7-2, 15-3, 22-4, 31-5, it was looking as grim as the weather as their first 3 bowlers conceded so few bad balls that scoring was around 2.5 an over and survival was the order of the day. Matty, (using Matt Teale’s bat) and Rob battled it out as the appeals got louder and more frequent and the heart rate increased. With the rain now very much in the air, a mid wicket conversation led to a change in tactics and Rob and Matty went on the attack to set about improving the run rate. Four classy fours from Matty and 2 fierce boundary strikes from Rob regained some momentum but when Rob was out for 14 and Matty retired on 31 Guildford were 65-7 in the 16th with 16 still needed and it had started to rain.
Nerves were jangling at the pitchside and then with the score on 68-7 the umpires brought the players off because of rain. Yes, it was raining but no more than either side was used to playing in, almost normal conditions we argued nervously for the Scots. It was a bizarre decision as the other matches were still going on and both sides were adamant they wanted to play on despite the conditions and finish the match properly. Out we came again, only for us to lose Henry T immediately after the resumption. With nerves of steel Henry M was our man in a crisis as Duncan joined him and Grange tried their 7th bowler to try and finish us off. Happily for us this move backfired as he conceded 9 runs in the 18th over. With the scores level, Henry nicked an inside edge for 4 to bring us victory with 2 wickets and 11 balls to spare – Henry finishing with a decisive 17 no and a rare smile!
4 wins out of 4 and we couldn’t be beaten – the title was ours!
Many thanks to all the Supporters who came on to cheer the team. Some of whom are seen here, keen to celebrate their success!
Three U12s played at Oundle and 3 more have contributed during the cup run and I’m sure they will be inspired to repeat the success next season.
Many thanks go to the manager Dean who has nurtured this side with such commitment, skill, encouragement and insight – a man on a mission. James, his assistant has never wavered in his belief that they could succeed and helped push the boys to achieve their potential.
Coaches Matt and Duncan who prepared them like a professional outfit at Oundle and helped make it such a great experience for the boys and one that will last long in their memory.
Massive thanks go to the parents & supporters who have done their bit in so many respects even to the extent of changing holidays to enable boys to play in the important matches!
Finally to Guildford CC who have encouraged the junior section to pursue such honours and give the talented young players across all age groups the coaching, opportunities and support to play up and improve their skills and experience.
U15 champions in 2014 and now U13 winners are a reward for their vision and a blueprint for future success. Do get your young cricketing friends to join us for 2016 and beyond!